Recent Work – part 1: Moscow Studio

28Dec11

I haven’t updated in a long time, as I’ve been busy with school and thesis prep. Here are a few brief updates on the latest things I’ve been working on:

1. Studio

My studio this last semester was a traveling studio taught by Professor Alex Mergold of Austin Mergold and Alexander Brodsky, the Russian artist and architect. Over the course of the semester we designed 3 pavilions, the last of which was a collaboration across the whole studio, resulting in a built installation.

Since this is a blog about design + technology, I’ll focus on the technological processes that went into my first pavilion, as well as my contribution to the final group pavilion.

The first pavilion was fairly abstract. It was an abstract “catalog of russian tower typologies,” although at first glance it might not appear to have any representational content whatsoever.

This seeming jumble of suspended elements actually functioned as an anamorphic device. From a set of precise view points around the mass of elements, they would coalesce into the shape of a tower from Russian history.

(You can kind of make out the outline of an “onion dome”.) This was worked out using Grasshopper to construct the seemingly random elements from a set of pre-drawn profiles.

The final project of the semester converted a shipping container left over from the construction of OMA’s new Milstein Hall into a pavilion to house spatial memories from our trip to Moscow. It was an exciting and very collaborative design process, and while its end appearance doesn’t have the typical formal expression of a “parametric” project, it utilized a number of Grasshopper-powered parametric elements during the design and fabrication process.

Photo Credit: Elease Samms

The supports for the vertical slats were calculated in Grasshopper and CNC fabricated in order to precisely align and angle the slats. They changed angle gradually, so that from certain angles the “wrapper” read as a solid wall, and from others it was very transparent. It made the fairly rigid overall volume function much more dynamically, changing as an observer moved around and through it.

Inside the container was a suspended “tube” which contained 24 false-perspective dioramas, each of which depicted a spatial memory of some kind from our Moscow trip. Each diorama was slightly different in its dimensions and angles, in order to preserve the artificial sensation of looking into a much larger space when viewed through the peep hole, which was fitted with a wide angle door viewer. Though cut by hand, the cardboard diorama boxes were all measured out by projecting directly onto the sheets with a grasshopper definition which had calculated the precise geometries of each diorama within the overall scheme.

A diorama on its way to being installed

The inside of my diorama, with 3d-printed, perspective-distorted chairs and other fixtures

The view through the peephole

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